Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Toronto Fringe review: Rounding The Bend

By Darren Stewart-Jones

Rounding The Bend is an original musical that sees four young female friends take a road trip together, discovering things about themselves and each other along the way. Although the entire cast in this piece was strong and cohesive as a unit, I'd be remiss if I didn't single out Alyssa Minichillo for her performance as the somewhat goofy Lauren. Her characterization reminded me of a young Kristin Chenoweth.

While the premise of Rounding The Bend seems fun and light, there are some serious issues happening between a couple of the friends. The play is, for all intents and purposes, a coming out story. Two of the girls, Quinn and Andrea,  cross the line of friendship when their relationship starts to become physical on the dance floor while all four friends are out drinking one evening. Andrea, it seems, has had feelings for Quinn for a while and realizes that things may finally be coming together for her now that she has accepted who she is. Quinn's attraction to Andrea seems more superficial and her sexuality more fluid, causing some serious - although unintentional - heartache.

The piece is well-directed by its young playwright, Eliza Blue Musselwhite, who effectively uses four black painted wooden chairs as the play's constantly morphing set. While the script had some lovely moments in between the humorous bits, I felt that the story of unrequited lesbian love wasn't fully resolved. Or rather, it was resolved too easily. That being said, with a sixty minute time limit, a writer can only fit so much into a script. Perhaps a longer version of this play could explore the conflict further.

All in all, Rounding The Bend is an enjoyable musical play with a message, aided by the strong characterizations and singing voices of its talented female cast.

Info and tickets for all Toronto Fringe plays can be found at fringetoronto.com

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